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SelfHelp Manual advice: Back Injury Prevention

Back pain is brought about by an accumulation of weeks-years of faulty body mechanisms, poor posture, working habits, everyday stresses, lack of fitness and a decreased flexibility. As well as pain the expense for maintaining or curing back pain is staggering and is easily avoidable by following certain mechanisms and everyday changes to your lifestyle. Understanding how to prevent and what to do if they occur is essential in achieving a healthy back as well as a sustained overall happiness.

Back disorders most commonly arise from:

  1. Poor posture
  2. Faulty body mechanisms
  3. Stressful living
  4. Stressful work environment
  5. Loss of muscular strength and flexibility
  6. A reduction in physical activity

Poor Posture: Changing the way you sit/stand and walk is essential in preventing back injuries. Maintaining an upright posture when sitting in a chair or standing is the key trying not to slump down with rounded shoulders and a curved back.

Faulty Body Mechanisms: Adopting a knees bent, straight back approach to picking up a box or lifting someone from a wheel chair is the preferred means of sustaining a healthy back as well as pivoting instead of twisting when passing items and lifting items close to you.

Stressful Living: Work on reducing life stressors and remember to be kind to yourself. Standing on a chair to reach for items in cupboards above your head instead of extending your arms beyond your eye level will suffice for stopping back pain.

Stressful Work environment: As mentioned above, adopting a proper posture is essential even at work, as many jobs will cause strain on your back especially if you’re constantly leaning over to carry out tasks.

Poor Mattresses: Investing in a mattress that supports your back and isn’t to firm or to soft is key in preventing back disorders. Prompting your spine in a balanced and supported position is essential.

Loss of Strength and flexibility: Bending from your whole spine instead of just your hips and building up some muscle to support your back is recommended. Regular gym and yoga is recommended.

Decline of Physical Activity: Sustaining a high fitness level and maintaining healthy nutrition is vital in inhibiting back pain.

Uncommon causes of back pain

  1. Birth defects
  2. Metabolic problems/changes
  3. Infection
  4. Tumours
  5. Psychosomatic problems

Common back disorders

  1. Muscle guarding and spasm
  2. Disc bulge/strain
  3. Joint stiffness
  4. Disc herniation
  5. Acute sprains/strains
  6. Osteoarthritis
  7. Postural sprains/strains

Muscle Guarding and Spasm: The body’s initial reaction to a sudden onset of pain is through muscle guarding. This process causes the muscles to immobilise the affected area where pain is felt and prolonged guarding leads to muscle spasms. Treatments include hot bath, warm heating packs, remedial massage, medication to relax muscles and relaxation to relieve symptoms.

Disc strain/bulge: Can be caused by sitting or standing in a slumped position as well as bending or lifting forward. A reduction in flexibility and physical activity are associated with the condition. Treatments include strengthening exercises and maintaining an appropriate posture is key to preventing the injury. Flexion distraction techniques to reduce disc bulging.

Joint stiffness: Stiffness could be brought on by acute sprains/strains and standing for long periods of time with a poor posture. Treatment includes again flexibility and strengthening exercises to treat joint stiffness.

Disc herniation: The advanced form of a disc bulge which is also caused by prolonged poor posture and faulty mechanisms. Treatments include physical therapy such as traction and in severe cases, surgery.

Acute Strains and Sprains: May come about due to twisting, lifting or injuries for example whiplash. This condition can be cured via rest and strapping if only a minor injury to prevent aggravation.

Osteoarthritis: Occurs after long-standing back disorders accompanied by strains and sprains as well as wear and tear on the vertebrae. Osteoarthritis is an aging condition and majority of the time presents little pain and suffering to the patient. For cases where pain is too much to handle for some, regular exercise and flexibility exercises are prescribed to lessen the symptoms. Glucosamine sulphate has been shown to be beneficial in some cases.

Postural Strains and Sprains: Disorder brought about by many hours of stressful work conditions as well as living and a poor posture. Strengthening and flexibility exercises are recommended to prevent the disorder.

Treatment: With a substantial amount of back injuries, changing your posture, maintaining healthy lifestyles and adopting new changes to your everyday life is key in preventing back pain.

Immediate care: Ice, Rest, consult a doctor and maintain a healthy posture.

After improvement: Start moving, exercise more, recondition yourself, and become aware of the incident and review it, restore flexibility and strength and adopt a balanced posture.

Here at Lakeside Chiropractic we provide a multi-modal approach to all types of back injuries/ conditions. Located at 3/45 Central Walk, Joondalup, Central to Perth’s Northern suburbs. With a variety of visitors from various neighbouring suburbs, such as: Iluka, Wanneroo, Sinagra, Butler, Carramar, Currambine, Jindalee, Lancelin, Tapping, Kinross, Craigie, Padbury and Duncraig. We have HICAPS Facilities available onsite for all major health care providers (NCF, HCF, HBF, NIB, BUPA AHM), we are also a Medibank preferred practitioner. If you would like to talk to us in relation to a back condition please feel free to contact us on 9300 0095 or you can visit our website

May 24, 2018